Understanding entry requirements

We can help you explore eligibility and provide guidance on pathways into study.

We can help you make sense of university entry requirements and how to apply them in your own context. We can also guide you on how to plug any gaps in learning to help you get to where you want to be.

As far as we are concerned, everything is within reach if you’re willing to put in the work.

Before we get started

To start with, we would recommend writing a list of the qualifications you currently hold. Try to locate copies of any certification to provide evidence, as admissions teams may ask for this.

It is important to note at this stage that there are many institutions offering courses in a variety of formats such:

  • Part-time
  • Distance or online
  • Integrated masters
  • Full-time courses offering foundation years, years abroad or a year in industry.

Each course will have its own set of recommended entry requirements. These are set by universities and sometimes associated organisations (such as Health and Care Practitioners Council (HCPC) for some Health subjects) and outline a level of understanding to help students to gain the most out of their studies.

UCAS is a great place to start your university research. They have full course listings for all institutions, providing information on entry requirements and much more. Once you’ve had a chance to have a look at the requirements for any course(s) you’re interested in taking, you may have questions about where to plug any gaps on qualifications.


It is worth noting that Admissions teams may also ask you for proof of English proficiency if your first language isn’t English. For more information, please visit our page on English Language Equivalencies.

Foundation years

If you have already completed studies and don’t quite meet the entry requirements, foundation years are a fantastic way to join a university and spend a year getting ready for the main degree. These are supportive mechanisms to help students to cement their existing skills into their degree study. Many students who have taken foundation years will describe the extensive insight they’ve had into subjects of interest and go on to perform very well on their main degree course. Find out more about our Foundation Year courses and hear from other students.


If you have any questions on where to complete any missing requirements, or have any questions, please contact Gemma on maturestudents@uea.ac.uk.

Many universities will ask you to hold a GCSE or equivalent in Math and English Language. It is important to look at the entry requirements for any course you may be interested in to understand where you can fulfil those requirements and avoid unnecessary disappointment.

If you’re missing these requirements, you can take a look at your local council’s website to see what adult education provision is on offer. For example, at Norfolk County Council, Wensum Lodge provide a host of different courses both in person and online including Functional Skills level 2 in Math and English Language (as well as a huge range of courses). Many local colleges will also offer lessons in functional skills, ESOL and GCSE subjects.

Admissions teams also treat iGCSEs as they would a typical GCSE, and payment for these can be made in instalments across an academic year. Any providers like National Extension College provide effective distance and online GCSE and A-level courses to help make up any of these requirements.

If you hold qualifications and are unable to locate evidence of this (i.e. have lost your certification), you can find guidance on how to get a replacement exam certificate.

Universities will take into consideration a variety of pathways to study. When you review entry requirements, make note of any specific requirements asked of you (for example, Nursing or Health subjects may ask you to have a qualification in a health, care or sport related subject).

If you’re missing any of these requirements, it’s worth noting that you can explore completing an Access to Higher Education diploma, validated by Cambridge Access Validation Agency (CAVA). These qualifications can be taken at a local college offering this provision, or from an online provider. These courses are designed to provide you with important subject insight to help you gain skills and knowledge, as well as helping you with the process of applying to university.

If you’re interested in starting a course, you have the choice on whether you complete this online or through a local college, most of which will offer Access courses and support. You can find further information on the following websites:

Access to HE


It’s worth noting that some university’s ask for tariff points instead of grades, like we do at UEA. The UCAS tariff point calculator is a great tool to utilise in case you’d like to see how you fair.

Pathways into university

If you need help figuring out where you stand, you’re welcome to email maturestudents@uea.ac.uk with your questions. If you’d rather chat with a member of staff, please feel free to book in a meeting online to discuss further.

Book an online meeting

If you’re applying to UEA this year as a mature student and would like bespoke guidance, please sign up for our Applicant Support Programme for mature students.